$10m revamp gives new lease of life to Heritage building
The grand re-opening of the refurbished Ranfurly House in Three Kings, Auckland, was witnessed this afternoon by a gathering of veterans, service personnel, their families and Ranfurly Village residents. The historical celebration was officiated by the Minister for Veterans, Hon Ron Mark and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
Located in the heart of Ranfurly Village, Ranfurly House has had a $10 million makeover of extreme proportions to restore the building to its former glory. The newly opened site has maintained much of the original structure, reusing materials from the former building where possible.
Today’s official opening of the restored heritage site marks just over 116 years since the Ranfurly House first opened its doors on 10 December 1903.
The restoration of Ranfurly House was made possible by the partnership established in 2011 between the Ranfurly Veterans’ Trust and privately-owned retirement village operator Generus Living Group. The restoration of the heritage building is part of a wider $150 million joint venture to redevelop the Ranfurly site - including the establishment of a purpose-built rest home and hospital.
The relationship between the Trust and Generus Living Group has created an enduring legacy for the Trust, securing its long-term future and enabling it to continue caring for veterans and their families.
Director of Generus Living Group, Graham Wilkinson, says restoring the original Ranfurly House was always front of mind.
“The restoration of Ranfurly House is preserving an important piece of history. It’s the centre piece of the Ranfurly Village and Three Kings community. The Trust does amazing work to help veterans and their families, so restoring this heirloom and establishing world class facilities to enable even better service to the veterans’ community has been really rewarding,” he says.
The Ranfurly complex now consists of a 60 bed Hospital and Veterans’ Home, 192 apartments (on completion in 2021) and the extensive refurbishment of Ranfurly House which comprises a restaurant, bar, library and community rooms on the ground floor and a theatre and Ranfurly Veterans’ Trust offices and associated Veteran organisations operate from.
Chairman of the Ranfurly Veterans’ Trust, David McGregor, says that the Trust had been long awaiting the unveiling of this memorial site.
“It’s a very special day for us. We’re very proud of the fact that though our partnership with Generus Living Group, we were able to restore a piece of history. The re-opening also gives us an opportunity to honour those who served and remember those we have lost. The House’s legacy will live on and allow us to continue our duty in caring for veterans, service personnel and their families for years to come,” he says.
The House, founded by the Ranfurly Veterans’ Trust in 1903, was originally known as the Auckland Veterans’ Home and was funded by the national patriotic appeal, sponsored by the Governor, His Excellency, the Fifth Earl of Ranfurly.
Established in memory of those who served in the South African War during 1899-1902, the Trust and Ranfurly House have continued to serve the needs of veterans of the South African War, the First and Second World Wars, Jayforce, the Korean War, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam Wars.
The original roll of honour remains in the foyer of the refurbished Ranfurly House and records the names of 272 New Zealanders who died while serving in the ten New Zealand Mounted Rifles contingents or in British army units.
The Trust continues to focus on the needs of veterans, service personnel and their families and has worked collaboratively with Veterans Affairs NZ this year to deliver the Vietnam Veterans Expos in Auckland and Wellington and initiated monthly veteran case management clinics.
It also facilitated the development of the WeServed.nz website in late-2018 - a service directory to access great care for veterans, service personnel and their families - along with the support of around 30 organisations that make up the Combined Veterans’ Advocacy Group.